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The biology of beauty

Summary of The Biology of Beauty

Many articles are written by modern psychologists and psychoanalysts that stress the importance of beauty

in human and animal breeding as well as survival. One such article The Biology of Beauty suggests this importance and

backs it up with many facts and figures as well as surveys on normal people. The article states many theories and hypotheses

and also tries to explain why beauty plays such an important role in sexuality and power. What is beauty? According to this

article, beauty is a combination of symmetry, special qualities, and traits.

Symmetry is perhaps the most supported part of beauty in this article. The article states that symmetry

shows abundance of sexual hormones, health, and strength of the immune system. They support their hypothesis of

symmetry's affect on the abundance of sexual hormones with various scientific evidence. Two psychologists, Steven

Gangestead and Randy Thornhill measured the symmetry of hundreds of men and women in college. They also asked them

to complete a personal confidential survey that gave information on their health and sex lives. What they found was that the

men and women with better symmetry had started having sex 3-4 years before the people with average symmetry.

Gangestead and Thornhill also completed another survey involving women's responses to symmetrical men and men with

average symmetry. The results were as expected. The women with symmetrical partners responded twice as much

compared to the women with men having average symmetry. The rate of contraception was also much higher. Animals are

much more severe in their choosing. Female penguins won't accept males who aren't plump and symmetrical, and female

scorpion flies only accept males with symmetrical wings, as they are better at hunting and protecting. Also, less symmetrical

men and women surveyed had more ailments and more frequent accounts of illnesses compared to symmetrical men and

women who were overall much healthier.

Special qualities also play a role in beauty. A person with normal features is not considered as beautiful as

one with a few outstanding features. New Mexico State University's Victor Johnston conducted a computer survey called

FacePrints in which participants of all ages and ethnic groups were asked to give their accounts of a perfect face into the

computer. What they came up with was very surprising. Instead of selecting a female with average facial features, the men

leaned toward a girlish face consisting of many outstanding features. Their ideal face consisted of a small chin and jaws as

well as large eyes and luscious lips. Women value the opposite of the face constructed by men: a face consisting of a strong

jaw and chin, prominent cheekbones, a broad forehead, and a severe brow. Infants were also tested by psychologist Judith

Langlois. In her experiment, Judith showed the infant pictures of attractive and unattractive faces. What she found was that

infants stared much longer at the pictures of attractive faces and quickly looked away from the pictures of unattractive faces.

The infants, however, had no inkling of what was attractive from media or T.V, so our idea of attractiveness could very well

be inate. So beauty is not just a means of selecting the most fit partner.

Traits are also an important factor in attractiveness and beauty. Traits reflect fertility and sexual

potency in particular. An expert in female traits, Devendra Singh works as a psychologist at the University of Texas studying

the attractive traits of the female figure. His survey on attractive female figures gives an outlook on what men find most

attractive. According to the results of his survey, men found figure N7 in Devendra's chart the most sexually attractive.

Following in popular choice were N8 and U7. The men that took the survey ranged in age from eight to eighty five and yet the

favorite of each age group, N7, had a waist to hip ratio of .7 or 70%.

So here is the definition of beauty as portrayed by the article. The ideal man should be above average

height, have a broad forehead, perfect symmetry in wrist, ankles, and elbows as well as face, a strong chin, a large jaw, a

prominent brow, slightly above average musculature, and a waist-hip ratio of .9 or 90%. The ideal woman, on the other hand,

should have large eyes, a small jaw, chin, and nose, full lips, firm, symmetrical breasts, unblemished skin, and a waist-hip

ratio of .7 or 70%. My opinion concurs with the article for the most part, and their consistency of taking in account that

beauty isn't everything and that most people are married and have children despite physical impurities is very admirable. I

think that appearance regretfully does have a strong influence in how we perceive people, but it is good that these limits are

not severe, and that we can earn others respect with kindness, intelligence, and a good personality. I think that this ability to

break through physical barriers separates us from the animals, and even though we may not be as fit for survival as if we had

full physical choices, the ability to choose not just on physical attributes makes us a better, smarter more admirable species.

Source: Essay UK -

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